Overreacting to early-season losses by the local NFL team is a grand American tradition, one that is often proved irrational.

In the case of the Vikings' 20-17 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium, a certain amount of panic is appropriate.

In one weekend, the Vikings failed to sign star receiver Justin Jefferson to an expected contract extension; saw their prized defensive free agent signing, Marcus Davenport, miss his first game with an injury, and lost a home game to journeyman quarterback Baker Mayfield. Had this game been played in the Metrodome, the roof likely would have collapsed again.

The Vikings won 13 games last year. On Sunday, they played a team that won only eight games last year while employing Tom Brady, the most accomplished quarterback in history.

A year after blowing out the Packers in the first game under new football management, the Vikings embarrassed themselves in their 2023 debut, making at least a half-dozen unforced errors, losing the turnover competition 3-0 and losing to a quarterback who had to outduel someone named Kyle Trask for the right to start.

Following a season in which they won 11 one-score games and produced eight comeback victories, the Vikings lost by a field goal and allowed Mayfield, with his fourth team since 2021, to assume the role of clutch quarterback.

Three days before they will fly to Philadelphia to face what might be the most complete team in the NFL, the Vikings lost their most winnable September game. Three of their next four games are against quarterbacks far superior to Mayfield: the Eagles' Jalen Hurts, the Chargers' Justin Herbert and the Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes.

If there was a play emblematic of the Vikings' problems, it was their first turnover. Midway through the first quarter, the Vikings faced a third-and-2 at the Bucs 26.

Kirk Cousins took the snap from backup center Austin Schlottmann, who was playing because starter Garrett Bradbury had left the game with a back injury. As Cousins pulled away, guard Ed Ingram appeared to knock the ball from Cousins' hands.

Which brings us to the 2022 draft. First-round safety Lewis Cine did not start on Sunday. He called attention to himself only when he was sprinting toward the sideline as the Vikings called timeout to avoid a too-many-men-on-the-field penalty in the fourth quarter.

Second-round cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. didn't contribute either. Third-round pick Brian Asamoah II did not start, having his presumed place in the lineup taken by undrafted rookie Ivan Pace Jr.

In a few days, an offensive line that struggled to handle the Bucs' beefy front may face the Eagles' talented defense without Bradbury and perhaps standout tackle Christian Darrisaw, who missed part of Sunday's game with an ankle injury.

Cousins repeatedly praised his "skill guys." He made only one positive mention of his offensive line — when he noted that Schlottmann deftly took over Bradbury's duties.

Many of the Vikings' mistakes on Sunday were silly. They lined up in the neutral zone during a field goal attempt, giving the Bucs a first down and, eventually, a touchdown. They failed to block blitzers, leading to heavy hits on Cousins and another lost fumble.

The Vikings broke the cardinal rule of beating an inferior opponent at home — they failed to put them away early. The Vikings outgained the Bucs, 287 yards to 95, in the first half. Tampa Bay managed just one first down on their first six possessions.

The game should have been over then. Instead, the Bucs trailed just 10-3, then scored a touchdown on a drive aided by Vikings defensive end Pat Jones II lining up in the neutral zone.

The Vikings wanted to win a game of precision and offensive strategy. They let the Bucs turn it into an afternoon of mud wrestling.

"We beat ourselves," running back Alexander Mattison said.

"This is tough times," Vikings coach Kevin O'Connell said.

Tough times may not last, but they can quickly destroy a season.